Disable WordPress Plugins update indicator for inactive plugins

I have to really tip my hat to the guys that work hard on the core WordPress code at Automatic. In the last 12 months they taken the system to new heights with a complete redo of the admin interface. Adding many features to extend the core so that developers like myself can extend things even further.

Take for example the nice little number displayed on the Plugins menu item when some of your installed plugins are out of date. What a nice little feature. There is also an update display on the actual Plugins page the little yellow-ish box below a plugin row to indicate there is an update and the user needs to take action. From a usability stand point I think this sort of forward thinking is the reason I keep hacking in WordPress instead of other CMS-type systems like Drupal, Joomla, eZ Publish, etc.


WordPress Nav Update Indicator

But I do have a major annoyance with this ‘feature’. Like many other WordPress users I have man plugins installed. At any given time I will have a third of the plugins disabled maybe because I was testing things or maybe I deactivated the plugin but didn’t want to uninstall it. My annoyance is that the plugin update indicators work on all plugins even those you don’t have active. Not good. Worse on the client sites I support I really don’t want the client to need to worry about updating inactive plugins.

Sure I know there are at least half a dozen plugins that will completely turn off the plugin and WordPress core update nag indicators. But I really don’t want that. I just don’t want to see update nag on those plugins I’m not currently using.

So I did some research on this lazy Sunday afternoon and figured out how to hide the update indicator on those inactive plugins. The code below will hide these inactive plugin from the update counter. When the plugin is re-activated the plugin update indicator will once again show in the sidebar menu and on the plugins listing.

The Code

A note on the ‘add_filter’ lines just above. Seems there are two different hooks depending your the WordPress version. If you are running version 2.8.x or newer you should be safe to use the first add_filter line. If however you are still using 2.7.x then comment out the first add_filter an use the second one.


I really don’t plan to turn this into an official plugin for WordPress. So the simplest method of installation is to add it to your theme’s functions.php file.

About Paul Menard

Mis-placed Texas Geek now living on North Carolina. Lover of all things coding especially WordPress, Node.js, Objective-C and Swift. Love to work on interesting projects and come away with some new knowledge. Trying to keep my head on while I try to staying abreast of all the latest technologies. Lover of books and cats.